Everyone had left my birthday party, except for her. “What are you running from?” she asked, after a long pause. I looked down at the two different pints of beer I was drinking and took a big sip from both of them, almost in sync. The aftertaste of those IPAs wasn’t nearly as bitter as not having an answer to my friend’s question. I was lost. And I had lost control again. Of my gambling, my drinking and my life. The bar was almost empty and it was snowing outside in Copenhagen. It was 2:50 AM, January 26th 2019, and I had entered my late 30s with a new existential question to ponder on. Happy days for 36-year-old Eduardo.
I woke up alone in my bed the morning after. It was still snowing in the city, and I was hungover; enough to not quite enjoy my Saturday. Burnt some money gambling during breakfast, and then continued to give more away to the Gods of Odds. Because why not making things worse, right? Once you are in a path, you just keep going further and deeper into it. And you better enjoy the ride, kiddo. It might be your last.
The day went fast. Darkness came and set in, while I wasted time and money doing more online gambling, as a shitty Netflix action flick ran on the background. Then I fled. Put on my fancy, fucking expensive hiking boots and hit the streets. Called my mum and let her nag me into depression. “Get your shit together, son!” Fuck. Just what I needed. More doubts and low blows to my self-esteem. Motherly love never fails to deliver.
“How are you today? Are you getting existential?” my girlfriend texted. Was she reading my mind? Maybe.
“Yes. Just talked with my mum. Got me down,” I replied, my fingers freezing in the cold.
“Oh, sorry to hear babe. Do you want to talk about it?”
I didn’t. Not really. I slowly walked back home on the slush and sat in front of the computer instead. The words were there, following the frantic movements of my fingers.
“I’m finally writing again. I’ll be okay. My muse is here,” I texted C.
“Good. In Danish we say ‘Nothing is so bad that it is not good for something,’” she wrote back. “Intet er så skidt at det ikke er godt for noget.”
I had roamed the streets of Santiago for weeks, under the burning December sun, but I could only find warmth back in her Scandinavian bed; under her sheets and between her legs. C, my girlfriend, became my escapade, my mirage of comfort from the gray Nordic skies, the long nights and the white noise of all those alienating Danish conversations around me. She became my safe place.
How come this is a thing now? The whole serious relationship/girlfriend situation, that is. It’s hard to believe. When I cry on her shoulder after one of my jealousy-fueled rants or talk international politics during our long breakfasts, or wake up in the middle of the night, sweaty and with a hard-on tight against her ass; I can’t help but wondering why the fuck is she still around. I must have done something right at some point, I guess.
“Could we do dinner of some sort? Doesn’t need to be anything fancy!” C writes now. I switch from The Writer to boyfriend mode in an instant, going through the cooking logistics in my head already. And, deep in there, lurks a black cloud. I know I’m running away from something, like my friend said. But, can you blame me for fucking trying here? Can you spare me some time to be my own version of “normal” for a while?